On Friday during a coronavirus briefing, Donald Trump berated CBS News journalist Weijia Jiang for asking that he clarify his son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s statements that were made in a news conference on Thursday.
Jiang asked Trump to clarify Kushner’s assertion that the Strategic National Stockpile, which is a national supply of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment reserved for a health crisis, was intended for the federal government but not for the states.
On Thursday, Kushner had stated that “the notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile — it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use.”
Kushner’s use of the term “our stockpile” had many confused. It appeared that he was implying that the national stockpile was not intended for states to use.
The actual use of the program was intended for states to get supplies during a biochemical or health crisis.
A couple of other reporters had attempted to get Trump to clarify Kushner’s statements, however, when Jiang read Kushner’s quote to Trump, he immediately became confrontational.
“Why are you asking?” Trump responded interrupting her before she could even complete her question.
“You know what ‘our’ means? The United States of America that’s what it means,” Trump angrily replied. “And then we take that ‘our,’ and we distribute it to the states.”
Jiang pressed him on what Kushner’s wording means for the states, but Trump began to berate her.
“It’s such a basic simple question and you try and make it sound so bad,” Trump said. “You ought to be, you ought to be ashamed, you know what? You ought to be ashamed.”
“You said ‘our’, and ‘our’ means for the country, and ‘our’ means for the states because the states are a part of the country,” Trump continued. “Don’t make it sound bad.”
Trump then called on another journalist as Jiang tried to follow up on the question. Trump then told her, “You just asked your question in a very nasty tone.”
WATCH: Asked about Jared Kushner's remarks yesterday that the national stockpile is "ours," the president chides the reporter for a "gotcha" question asked in a "nasty" tone.
— 11th Hour (@11thHour) April 3, 2020
The next reporter followed up on Jiang’s question.
“isn’t [the stockpile] designed to be able to distribute to the states?” The male reporter asked.
“It’s also needed for the federal government,” Trump said. “We have a federal stockpile and they have state stockpiles, and frankly they were many of the states were totally unprepared for this. So, we had to go into the federal stockpile. But we’re not an ordering clerk. They have to have for themselves.”
During the news conference on Thursday, Kushner had stated: “You also have a situation wherein some states FEMA allocated ventilators to the states, and you have instances wherein cities they’re running out but the state still has a stockpile.”
He then added, “and the notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile — it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use.”
“So, we’re encouraging the states to make sure that they’re assessing the needs, they’re getting the data from their local situations and then trying to fill it with the supplies that we’ve given them,” Kusher stated.
The federal stockpile was created by President Bill Clinton. In 1998, Clinton pushed for the creation of a reserve after he read a novel about a fictional bioterrorism event.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the National Strategic Stockpile as “a national repository of pharmaceuticals, antidotes to chemical poisons, supplies for administering drugs, and emergency medical equipment for rapid deployment to the site of biological or chemical terrorism. The NPS Program is designed to supplement and re-supply state and local public health agencies in the event of a biological or chemical terrorism incident anywhere, at any time within the US or its territories.”